I am a history major here at Green Mountain College. One of the few. I simply adore history. It is honestly the only thing that I could study. Sciences, mathematics, etc. simply do not interest me. I love learning about the past, the way people used to live, the rise and fall of empires, kingdoms, and civilizations. We can learn so much from our past and I believe that many people do not realize this. Time and time again we can look back in history and find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over again.
I am currently taking a 3000 level history class this semester called Travelers’ Tales. This class is taught by Dr. Mary Jane Maxwell, one of the greatest teachers here at Green Mountain College. In the class, we take a look at travel accounts from travelers from all around the world dating from the Hellenistic era to the 17th century. The wide range of time periods allows us to examine the different beliefs, ideas, values, and biases from different centuries, while also letting us look how for example, Europeans viewed India in the Hellenistic era compared to the medieval period.
With only 14 students, the class is the typical small Green Mountain class. The setting is perfect for thorough learning. This is one of the many reasons why I came to Green Mountain College. The small-class advantage is a factor that all prospective students should be aware of.
Marco Polo: One of the travelers we read about.
The class is of course very challenging. It is a lot of reading and class discussions. This method assures that all class members participate in daily discussions and also develop and mature one’s reading skills. We have one big research paper and in fact, our draft was due today. 12 page essay with an annotated bibliography, endnotes, outline, and a prospectus. This draft essay process alone was very difficult and long, but in the end, I can honestly say that it was worth it. This class is teaching me so much. Plus, Mary Jane’s style of teaching is one that actually makes students think and have to work hard.
Next semester, I will be taking Islamic World and Medieval Russia with Mary Jane Maxwell. These classes should loads of fun and challenging. History classes really are my favorite, and if any potential history majors are reading this, let me tell you, Green Mountain has a great and challenging history program.
“Dieu le veut!”- War cry of Christian Crusaders during the Middle Ages.